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Br Dent J. 2005 May 28;198(10):642-5; quiz 648.

"Bridging the gap." Should the training of dental technicians be linked with that of the dental undergraduate?

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Department of Prosthodontics, The Dental Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE2 4A2, UK.



Improving communication and collaboration between members of the dental team is important to the long term aim of improving the quality of dental care for patients. For example, closer integration between trainee dental technicians and undergraduate dental students during their courses of training should both help to develop their own skills and foster an improved level of communication and understanding between these members of the dental team. The purpose of this study was to ascertain the number of dental teaching hospitals in Great Britain and Ireland currently involved with the training of dental technicians, and to find out how many of these bring trainee technician and undergraduate dental students together at some time during training as a matter of policy.


Action research was carried out in the form of a linking exercise in the Newcastle upon Tyne Dental Hospital. This involved second year trainee dental technicians and third year undergraduate dental students working together to provide complete dentures for a patient within the formal undergraduate course in complete denture construction. The trainee technicians also attended a series of lectures relevant to this course alongside undergraduate dental students.


The main findings revealed that although a number of dental teaching hospitals were involved with the training of dental technicians and had encouraged links between undergraduate dental students and trainee technicians, few had formalised these links in any way.


The outcomes of the linking exercise were evaluated by means of focus groups, observations and semi-structured interviews. Results indicated that both the trainee dental technician and the undergraduate dental student benefited to some extent from closer collaboration during training.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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